Swiss Police report that Benoit Violier, recently ranked as the world's best chef, has been found dead in his home in an apparent suicide case.

Forty-four-year-old Benoit Violier, of the three Michelin stars Restaurant l’Hotel de Ville in Crissier, near to Lausanne, was found dead at his home on Sunday 31 January.

Violier was named the world’s best chef by France-based ‘La Liste’ in 2015 – a global guide to restaurants published by the French foreign ministry.

The news sent shockwaves through the culinary world, with many chefs swiftly paying tribute to Violier on social media. News of Violier’s death also came 24 hours before the latest Michelin Guide was due to be announced in Paris.

Swiss police in the Vaud province said in a brief statement that Violier was already dead when they arrived at his home late afternoon on Sunday.

Police added that it appeared as if Violier shot himself.

However, the official cause of death will have to be confirmed by an inquiry. Police asked that the privacy of Violier’s family be respected.

Violier succeeded Philippe Rochat at l’Hotel de Ville in Crissier in 2012. He had trained in Paris with some of the most renowned chefs, including Joel Robuchon and Benoit Guichard.

Rochat was believed to be something of a mentor to Violier, promoting him at l’Hotel de Ville after arriving at the restaurant in the late 1990s. Rochat himself died last year after a cycling accident in Switzerland.